Houston’s retail market activity slowed during the third quarter but still remains healthy despite a decrease in absorption and a slight uptick in vacancy. In August 2017, Houston faced one of the worst natural disasters in history. Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane, slammed the Texas coast and dumped over 50 inches of rain in parts of Houston. The event caused widespread flooding, destroying homes, businesses and infrastructure. The retail sector saw supply chain interruptions which halted distribution logistics for a week or more. Ships carrying consumer goods were delayed due to ports shutting down and local distribution facilities could not get products delivered to consumers. A report by First Data shows that retail spending increased the week before the hurricane, but plummeted 58.7% week-over-week and 43.7% year-over-year in Houston and its surrounding areas at the peak of the hurricane. According to the Department of Commerce, September saw a slight uptick in consumer spending, mostly from purchases of replacement items damaged by Harvey.
Q3 2017 Highlights
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